Thursday, 12 January 2017

Top Tens: Colin's Top Ten Lookout Records Bands


Recently I have been reading a few books about Lookout Records and founder Larry Livermore. For those unaware Lookout Records was a legendary punk rock label that famously put out early records by Green Day and Operation Ivy (before Tim and Matt went on to form Rancid). A lot of my favourite bands from the 1990s punk scene put out records on Lookout, probably as many as were on Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph Records so I figured I'd do a top ten Lookout Records Bands.

Ann Beretta - Ann Beretta, like a few bands on this list, are criminally underrated. I first heard them after they released Three Chord Revolution on Golf Records in the UK. Because of this great record I checked out their previous work and the two Lookout releases are the ones that really stood out to me. To All Our Fallen Heroes and New Union Old Glory are both fantastic releases. Check out the tracks Fire In The Hole, Burning Bridges, Nowhere Generation and Glory Bound.

The Donnas - The Donnas were one of the later Lookout Record successes. Before they signed to major label Atlantic they released three full lengths on Lookout - American Teenage Rock 'N' Roll Machine, Get Skintight and The Donnas Turn 21. Those earlier days feature much more of a pop and garage punk sound compared to their current day take on modern rock 'n' roll. Check out Rock 'N' Roll Machine, 40 Boys In 40 Nights and Hook It Up.

Green Day - If it wasn't for Green Day then it is probably fair to say that the majority of bands who released something through Lookout Records wouldn't have had their chance. After releasing their first two full length albums - 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours and Kerplunk - through Lookout they got signed to Reprise and the rest is history. Check out Going To Pasalacqua and Welcome To Paradise.

The Groovie Ghoulies - Sacramento's Groovie Ghoulies developed somewhat of a cult following. The Ghoulies first two albums were rereleased by Lookout before the label released their next four albums, including the classics World Contact Day and Fun In The Dark. Known for the trademark horror and sci-fi pop punk tunes there wasn't a band quite like The Groovie Ghoulies. Check out The Beast With Five Hands, Running With Bigfoot and Punk Pt. 2.

The Lillingtons - Technically The Lillingtons released Death By Television on Panic Button Records which was an imprint of Lookout but it was just too good to leave off of this list. Another band that loved the horror and sci-fi genres and incorporated it into their fast as fudge pop punk sound. Obviously The Lillingtons' Kody went on to join one of the most popular pop punk bands of the current generation, Teenage Bottlerocket, but this is where he started. Check out Don't Trust The Humanoids, X-Ray Specs and Murder On My Mind.

The Mr T Experience - Before Dr Frank Portman was writing hit teen fiction stories he was the founding member of The Mr T Experience. Between 1990 and 2004 The Mr T Experience released seven full length albums on Lookout including Love Is Dead, Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You and Yesterday Rules. Known for their smart, catchy and often sarcastic lyrics the band are still going today. Check out Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba, Love Is Dead, We Are The Future People Of Tomorrow and She's Not A Flower.

Operation Ivy - Like Green Day a lot of the success of Lookout Records is due to Operation Ivy. Despite only ever releasing one album (Energy) they are one of the most legendary and influential punk bands in history. Check out Knowledge, Unity, Take Warning, Bad Town and to be honest the whole album.

The Queers - New York's The Queers combined the three chord pop punk sound of The Ramones and added the vocal harmonies of The Beach Boys to create a wonderful sound. Like The Mr T Experience, a large part of The Queers discography was originally released on Lookout including their debut Grow Up and classics such as Love Songs For The Retarded, Move Back Home and Pleasant Screams. Check out Ursuala Finally Has Tits, Ben Weasel, Punk Rock Girls and Boobarella.

Screeching Weasel - Despite what you could call quite a turbulent relationship with Lookout Records, Chicago's Screeching Weasel released four record on the label as well as another two on the imprint Panic Button Records. What you'd call the band's best work came out on Lookout and despite all the controversy that often surrounds Ben Weasel you have to look at that body of work with fond memories of some great music. Check out The Science Of Myth, Joanie Loves Johnny and Hey Suburbia.

Squirtgun - I, like I predict many Squirtgun fans, first heard of the band through Kevin Smith's cult classic movie Mallrats. The band was started by super producer Mass Giorgini in 1993 and released their first two albums through Lookout - their self titled debut and Another Sunny Afternoon. Playing more of a powerpop style than traditional pop punk the clearer production really help Squirtgun stand out amongst some of their peers. Check out Mary Ann, So Cool, Social and Mr Orange.